It’s been about two years, maybe a little more, since I literally threw out my scale. It was old. I think it was my mother’s scale in the house I grew up in. It migrated to my bathroom in my teens somehow and I just kept lugging it around with me.
I can’t say that my scale and I had a horrible relationship. In fact, until I joined this community and started to pay attention to assumptions about health, fitness, weight and acceptance, I didn’t give it a lot of thought. I dutifully weighed myself nearly every day for most of my life mostly, I thought, out of curiosity.
Now it is true, if I am completely honest with you, that there were a few years where the scale gave some useful reflective information. It was a time in my life that I lost a lot of weight. Why did I lose this weight? Divorce, a super messy one at that. I lost so much weight that my hair started to fall out (it never really recovered). I could not get the weight to come back to my body as my anxiety and stress ate my guts out and made me nauseous with every swallow. I’d get on that scale and hope there was more to me almost every day. For the longest time there was not.
Eventually, the divorce chaos calmed down and I was able to get hold of myself. When I say “get hold of myself” I’m not talking about my ability or inability to eat. I talking about actually finding myself and who I was. This is not a cliche. That is seriously what happened. It was the confidence that I was me and me was okay and I was going to be just fine that allowed me to start eating normally again and not to have each bit of nutrition go up in a flare of despair induced combustion.
My scale returned to a neutral item.
But I have a daughter.
And I found all these people who think gloriously and critically about the assumptions I swallowed about what the scale says and why we should or perhaps should not listen.
My scale didn’t vanish from my life immediately but I did start to wonder why it was there. I went up a pound. I went down a pound. Not much changed for me because of those things. Things changed because I started a therapy practice and I ran 5k and I biked all over the place and I rode horses and did pilates and and. . .that stuff. Life stuff. I loved my kids and they grew and I loved my partner and friends and all those things grew and changed. None of it had any relationship to the scale any more and the scale had nothing to say to me about the quality of my life.
I started to hear it’s actual voice, or maybe my voice, some part of my voice, when I stepped on the thing. I went up a pound (aw. . .sadface). I went down a pound (yay. . .happyface). I was already writing for this blog ad hoc. I was deep into a new understanding of what exercise means in my life and in the lives of other people around me and nothing was about pounds. I had worked to stop seeing health and food in moral terms for my clients. I stopped accepting “I want you to help me lose weight” as a goal in therapy. But there I was on the scale a little “yay” and a little “boo” depending on what it told me.
So I threw it out.
Except it is quieter in my head in the bathroom in the morning.